Tunisia's coasts: From red with blood to red with flowers
Tunisians give flowers to foreign tourists on southern Djerba Island after they refused to leave following terrorist attack

Last Friday, the coast of one of the hotels in the city of Sousse, east Tunisia was colored red with the blood of foreign tourists after a terrorist attack.

On Monday evening, the coast of Djerba Island, south Tunisia, was also colored red – but with flowers presented by Tunisian citizens, working in the tourism sector, to tourists who refused to leave the country after the attack.

"Through this symbolic act, we wanted to thank today the tourists who refused to leave Djerba Island specifically and Tunisia in general after the latest terrorist incident that took place in Sousse, Chedly Ben Messaoud, one of the protest organizers,” told Anadolu Agency. "Our presenting of flowers to them is the least we can do in return for their noble and brave stance.”

During the symbolic act, the organizers drew a big heart in the coast’s sand, and colored it in with the colors of the Tunisian flag – white and red – by placing colored flowers inside it.

Some of the participants said they wanted to express, through the drawn heart, that Tunisia "accommodates all minorities and nationalities.”

For his part, Oliver Miller, director of one of the tourist and hotel organizations on Djerba Island, told Anadolu Agency: "I understand the tourists’ fear arising from the latest incident, but I am sure that the tourism sector will return stronger than it was in the past, before January 2011.”

He was referring to the Tunisian revolution that overthrew the rule of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and that had a negative effect on the tourism sector.

Tawfiq al-Qayed, one of the government officials responsible for the tourism sector, pointed out that despite 700 Belgian tourists leaving Djerba Island in the immediate aftermath of the incident; he did not record any new departures after that.

"There are new tourist delegations that have begun to reach the island, and the tourist area in Sousse, which witnessed a terrorist operation last Friday,” Qayed told Anadolu Agency.

Al-Qayed pointed out that 15,000 tourists are still in the tourist area in Djerba and that the region is still "the primary tourist destination in Tunisia.”

Tourism is considered one of the pillars of the Tunisian economy and employs close to 400,000 people.

It makes up seven percent of gross domestic product, and between 18 to 20 percent of Tunisia’s yearly foreign currency reserves.

Tunisia is living in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, one that is considered the most bloody in the country’s history.

A militant called Seifeddine Rezgui carried out the armed attack, killing 38 foreign tourists, most of them British.

Last Modified: 2015-07-01 09:27:45
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